Nothing is more chilling than a door that opens by itself. Whether it creaks slowly open or abruptly slams open, it’s unexpected and unnerving. Especially if you never saw the door in the first place.
Doors, in the spirit realm, are like that; one moment there’s nothing there and then suddenly, there’s a portal right in front of you – and what can you do but walk through it?
Since the new year, I’ve heard several times and from different sources that God is opening new doors – both natural doors and doors in the spiritual realm. Now at first, I have to confess, I thought the “open door” theme was simply the usual new year’s chatter: every year someone promises that the Lord is going to open new doors for someone, somewhere. And no doubt sometimes He has. But often a word that was meant for one person or small group we take to be a general word for everyone. But this year is different. When we begin to hear the same message from several sources, over and over, it’s time to sit up and pay attention. So, what does it mean for God to “open a door” anyway?
Rescue. There are times in our lives when we may need to be rescued, to be saved from some circumstance that may or may not be of our own doing. Take Peter the Apostle; in his case, the “door” that opened for him was literally a door – a prison door. Peter had been cast into jail for the heinous crime of preaching the Gospel. We don’t know how long he was there but he’d probably been in prison long enough that he’d given up hanging onto the cell bars, peering hopefully out, waiting for his angel in shining armor to fly in and rescue him. And yet, in the middle of the night, after perhaps many nights, after Peter had given up, left his watch, and fallen finally asleep, an angel did appear and that heavy iron door swung wide open. The point is that once God opened that door to rescue Peter, no one, not even the entire Roman Empire, could stop Peter from walking through it.
Opportunity. Sometimes the “door” God has for us is an opportunity; it may be to get a job, start a ministry, open or expand a business, pursue an education, widen our network or influence – it could be a million things.
Joseph of the OT was a person faced with such a door – although perhaps it didn’t appear to be a really great opportunity when he was suddenly hauled out of prison and commanded by Pharaoh to interpret his dream. But Joseph seized the day and warned Pharaoh about the seven years of plenty to come, followed by seven years of famine. However, he didn’t stop there. Joseph took the opportunity to advise Pharaoh as to how to solve the impending famine crisis and so was promoted to second in command in all of Egypt. Who saw that coming?
“’What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open . . .’” (Rev. 3:7).
Promotion. There are times when the Lord presents a “door” in the form of a promotion. But is a “promotion” really that different from an “opportunity? Yes. An opportunity is usually a “new” thing; generally, a person has already walked through a door of opportunity – as with a career – and gone in a new direction. However, a promotion is a second door, an advancement within that career (or business or ministry or school, etc.).
The OT story of Esther is a good example. Esther was caught in a dragnet and cast into the middle of a rather unconventional beauty pageant, the “prize” being that the winner would become the new queen of Persia. Not too shabby. But how is that an “opportunity”? Esther, a virtuous Jewish virgin, was essentially kidnapped and thrown into the King’s harem and would be required, without the benefit of marriage, to sleep with a man who, king or no king, was a stranger. And then, if the king didn’t like her, Esther would spend the rest of her life in the harem; there’d be no husband, no children, and her reputation among her people would be, well, rather tarnished. Nevertheless, “when the turn came for Esther . . . to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her” (Esther 2:15). Point? Esther could have mourned and grieved and rebelled against the circumstances but she didn’t. Many of the other girls might have done that but Esther chose to make the most of the opportunity to learn the language, the politics, and the workings of the palace. It was in making that deliberate choice that gave Esther the favor of God and also the favor of the king. In the end, Esther was promoted to the position of Queen of the Persian Empire.
What’s the lesson? “Doors,” whether they present as rescues, opportunities or promotions, often have two things in common: the “doors” are often sudden and unexpected, and they always require a response from us. We don’t have to cooperate with the rescue as Peter did when he chose to walk through the open prison door (note that the angel didn’t drag him through it). We don’t have to take the opportunities to serve with good attitudes the way Joseph and Esther did – despite their captivities. And we don’t have to accept the promotion when it’s offered as Joseph and Esther did – even though promotions often require added responsibilities and work. This year God has revealed that He will be opening doors of rescue, opportunity, and promotion.
The question is – will you walk through them?